by Staff Writers
Managua (AFP) Jan 12, 2014
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Chinese tycoon Wang Jing on Saturday said plans to start building a $40-billion canal across the Central American country were on track for late 2014.
Wang Jing's Beijing Interoceanic Canal Investment Management Co. has secured the right to dig a waterway in Nicaragua that will rival the Panama Canal and be hugely significant to world trade if it is completed.
Ortega gave the group a concession to operate the future waterway for 50 years, renewable for another 50.
"The Nicaraguan government and HKND Group are pleased to confirm that canal construction work will begin as planned in December 2014," the two said in a brief statement.
Their remarks appeared aimed at shooting down any idea of a delay. Nicaragua's Canal Authority chief Manuel Coronel Kautz recently was quoted as saying work would not start on the Nicaraguan waterway until 2015.
It is the biggest infrastructure project by far attempted under the government of Ortega. And it would have huge strategic value, potentially interrupting commerce in Panama's waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific.
Panama is currently expanding its century-old canal, and the massive project is running behind schedule.
The Panamanian upgrade aims to make that 80-kilometer (50-mile) waterway, which handles five percent of global maritime trade, big enough to handle new cargo ships that can carry 12,000 containers.
That project is costing $5.2 billion, including a third set of locks for the canal which currently welcomes ships that carry up to 5,000 containers.
Feasibility studies are under way in Nicaragua. But it is not yet known how the future canal might be built in mechanical and logistical terms, if it gets a final green light.
Global Trade News
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|